Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius has pulled the trigger and brought Rimas Kurtinaitis to be the head coach for at least the remainder of the season. The Lithuanian LKL and EuroCup club was stunned yesterday when Tomas Pacesas announced he was stepping down from his role as head coach.
Pacesas left his position after the club failed to qualify for the EuroCup Quarterfinals, bringing to an end the continental season for Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. However, it is understood that the front office was not going to sack him as head coach. The clubs league form has put pressure on Pacesas, thanks to a record of 15-7 that has put the team in third place.
Lietuvos Rytas president Gedvydas Vainauskas said that “I was surprised when I met with Tomas Pacesas on Thursday morning and he told me that he wants to resign. He explained that to me after the elimination from the EuroCup quarterfinals.”
The task of guiding Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to the LKL title now falls on Rimas Kurtinaitis, a 56-year old who has been leading Cantu in the Italian Serie A this season. The former superstar player is best known for his long coaching stint with Russian club Khimki Moscow Region. Kurtinaitis spent five seasons (2011 – 2016) with the club, and in that time he guided Khimki to become the closest rival to CSKA Moscow in Russia.
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius fans are familiar with the tactician as he was previously the head coach of the club in the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons. In both those terms, he led the team to the Lithuania League championships.